VoiceOfRzn ~ 2013 Year-In-Review!
2013 has been a busy year for VoiceOfRzn Management and affiliated label, Definition Music LLC. Upon reflection, we view this as a crucial year for building upon a lot of our core foundations. Rather than just giving everyone a quick list of releases and projects, we figured we’d also drop some insight on why these projects are important in a larger scheme of things, in a way that attempts to blend all of our various company perspectives into one. So here we go: Hopefully, this review will give you an idea of where we’ve been, and what we have planned for the coming year(s).
As a team, our first major project of the year was the release of VoiceOfRzn represented/Definition Music artist HuntorPrey’s “Motion Sound Picture” EP. Years in the making, this record solidified HuntorPrey extremely well in his base of Toledo, OH. HP had already been building a momentum in the spoken-word and hip-hop scene, as well as the local community in general through humanitarian efforts. This EP, it’s layout and show production collectively built HuntorPrey a strong grassroots movement within his community, a respect among the elite artists in his region and a growing fan base that continues to connect at a very organic level. HuntorPrey is currently at work on his full-length follow-up, which looks to grow that grasroots connection into a wide range of new areas. If you haven’t heard the release (fully produced by Ill Poetic), click on the links below:
Above is HuntorPrey’s debut video, “This Way”, filmed and edited by David Damen// of our partners at Arris Productions (who you may recognize from Ill Poetic’s videos “Gone” and “Numb” from 2012). The record draws inspiration from the Ohio blue-collar work aesthetic and did a really great job of setting the tone for Huntor’s EP and overall vision. Check out the EP below:
Huntor’s EP is a loose conceptual album and set up in the format of a motion sound picture, hence the name “Motion Sound Picture”. Not that our opinion is relevant since he’s a part of our camp… but we really dug how Huntor was able to build a conceptual record without forcing the songs into the concept. They just occur naturally within their own worlds but stick to the overall theme. We also love seeing Huntor take a typical verse off the record and slow it down to a spoken word level, re-twisting patterns, emphasizing key points and rebuilding concepts on an acoustic level. Huntor is the first artist to release a record on the re-launched Definition Music label besides Ill Po, and it’s been a really exciting and challenging opportunity to assist in building additional artists into a self-sustaining level.
After releasing Ill Poetic’s “Synesthesia Yellow” EP late last year, we were faced with the task of building a band that could actually play the shit he recorded. Thankfully, we had been working with a phenomenal drummer Don Carlos (Fisher) for years, as well as building with a few other amazing musicians who were also willing to contribute to our cause. By Summertime, we had amassed a 9-piece band, which size would be built mostly for local/regional and festival events. Because of this, 2013 was the first year since 2006 in which we did not put a national tour together for our flagship artist, Ill Poetic. We spent the year learning quickly (and sometimes failing at) how to structure a large number of musicians to re-imagine his sound toward a live experience. Such a large co-op is not something we currently have the benefit of touring with, but it has been a crucial learning experience for us, was definitely worth the time spent off the road, and excites us even that much more to get back on the road soon.
“Stack The Deck” first took shape at Ill Poetic’s “Synesthesia Yellow” release party last November, 2012. The venue, Troubadour Performing Arts Center, was the most unique space we’d ever come across in Columbus. The vibe, experience and crowd that evening was unforgettable and genuinely special. It was the first event we’d thrown that felt truly organic. All parties decided immediately that this had to continue. VoiceOfRzn President, Micshon Harper, dubbed the event “Stack The Deck”, first because we provided 2 floors of various music experiences, but also because we view this event and venue as the destination point for top tier musicians and artists across genres, and are effectively “stacking the deck” with raw talent with each showing. We threw 2 of these events this year, both in June and November and they’ve grown tremendously ever since. The feedback we’ve received from the crowd has been mind-blowing and we feel blessed to a part of something that has such an organic and magical feel to it. Additionally, it feels great to have an event where people can come see our brand develop and try new ideas before taking them out on the road. We’ll definitely continue growing this out over the next year.
This past August, VoiceOfRzn & our partners Arris Productions dove into the crowd-funding arena with our “A Part of the Art” Campaign. Designed to raise funds for the final video from Ill Po’s “Synesthesia Yellow” EP, we wanted to see A) How much we could make friends, family and fans a part of our actual creative process, and B) get an idea of actually how our support translated financially. It’s easy to say you have a million followers on twitter, but we needed a real test to see if fans were invested enough in our ideas to help sponsor them. Though we didn’t reach our projected goal, we were able to raise enough money at strictly a fan level (no sponsor or business contributions) to proceed with the video. Beyond shooting this video, this idea was very important in showing we have a support system in all of you. For all of you who ended up contributing $5 to $500 a-piece, you really won’t have an idea of what your contribution meant for at least another six months or so, but just know that it goes waaay beyond this video!
If you’re not familiar with our campaign, catch the video above and be on the look out for another round of updates. And if you contributed, be on the look-out for your perk in the mail shortly.
During the “Part of the Art” campaign, we released a lot of incentives and goodies to bring some press attention to our idea. One of which was the release of the “Synesthesia Yellow” Instrumentals. We had been waiting to release these all year, as a lot of these songs have tons of live instrumentation and vocals from an array of talented artists, some of which are from the famed Ohio Funk era of the 1970s and 80s. This release served as a great platform for folks to listen to some amazing keys, horns, vocals, and experience the “Synesthesia Yellow” tracks in a whole new light. Check them out here below if you’ve been sleeping!
This was an exciting year for us. We tried out a lot of new ideas in a lot of areas. Some worked, some didn’t (or more so worked in ways we hadn’t foreseen; even better). As we move into the new year, we have to say we’re excited both artistically and from a business-standpoint on figuring out new ways to push our envelope in new directions. We’ve been working hard for years now to establish a strong foundation and reputation for top-tier quality music, product, events, creativity and business acumen. Earning this has allowed us opportunities to pursue creative ventures we’d never thought possible; including upcoming more diverse and quality releases on the Definition Music label, increased touring, consultation, and representation by VoiceOfRzn Management for both existing & new artist; new directions in upcoming art and presentation from Ill Poetic; and of course continued help materializing visual representation of our brand from our friends and partners over at Arris Productions in between their full length feature film releases. We all…VoiceOfRzn, Definition Music & Arris Productions… look forward to building with many of you further, and hope you keep riding with us throughout the new year. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store!
#BeCool #VoiceOfRzn #2014